InDesign template files available from an online shop? The 2Image online editing environment


Editors for print media are nothing new. Lately, however, increasing numbers of editors are hitting the scene that can handle Adobe InDesign files online and in real time. I have selected one of these tools for a closer look: 2Imagine.

As I have said before, I am planning to dedicate some time for some interesting and innovative software and hardware solutions, which in my view have the potential to establish themselves in the web‑to‑print sector. 2Imagine has developed a system solution for the in-browser processing of Adobe InDesign and Illustrator documents, which is aimed primarily at mid-sized to large companies, as is easy to see when glancing at the Belgium-based customer and cooperative partner list of this software manufacturer. Renault, Nivea and BoConcept are just some of the names that trust in 2Imagine software for browser-based internal company and external customer communication on and in actual documents. All well and good – but where is the actual advantage for online print?

Input and output options of the 2Imagine online editor; Source:
Input and output options of the 2Imagine online editor; Source:

The solution is a perfect addition for existing print shops, as the online editing environment functions without any need for additional hardware components or IT support. This SaaS solution, which can be had for a monthly license fee of €495, allows additions and corrections directly in the document online based on predefined restrictions. It utilises the InDesign files – which are crucial for pre-press workflows – as basis for communication for the final print product. In terms of editing options, the customer can – depending on access permission for the template – edit text elements, while corporate design elements are locked according to the settings of the designer. The available scope for changes is therefore always preconfigured on the basis of the basic template design. Once the customer has finished optimising the document, he can then save it for immediate implementation. Previously, the options for some print shops were limited to the exchange of content modifications via PDF comments, which often resulted in communication problems regarding the file to be modified and therefore (costly) loss of time. One obvious advantage: the customer can – within specific limits – contribute to the design of the InDesign file right from the start, which saves time and as everything is visible in real time all the time, s/he will have a much more positive feeling when it is time to place the final order.

Zipperkopf_DaumenHochSmile“Print shops can use the online editor for direct communication with their clients and therefore also for their data receipt and approval process, without having to allow the client “dangerously extensive” access – especially in terms of the corporate design.” – Bernd Zipper

The export options offered for InDesign files to other formats makes this editor not only a good online print solution, but also a great tool for cross-media tasks. 1io with one2edit, an editor with a similar scope of functions and which appears to me to be comparable, but not quite on a par with the more streamlined 2Imagine, would be another viable option.

A practical feature here is the fact that the customer will not need to have licensed Adobe products installed to be able to edit the files; online provisioning via ID file server means – after all – that all work is done directly in the file. Anyone, who knows their way around the basic InDesign tools, will be able to work with the editing environment of this tool without any problem; professional level knowledge is not required. This is a quote of what 2Imagine has to say about the process: “It starts with a conventional layout, usually designed by an agency in Adobe® InDesign®, uploaded to the system. Subsequently, all system users, often not trained in layout programs, can use them to create professionally printed matter. They will edit the templates using intuitive tools with a web user interface, to generate a print-ready file with professional layout.”

Editor use case – designing a catalogue cover; Source:
Editor use case – designing a catalogue cover; Source:

There are a number of APIs available for the easy integration of the tool in existing systems and online apps, since 2Imagine will “only” populate one section of the web shop. It can, for example, be embedded in the Magento web shop environment.

My take on the tool: Good. The API provided allows for easy web shop integration of the 2Imagine tool – a really neat online editor for online print shops that raises the bar considerably and offers a definite competitive advantage.

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